Royal Navy’s ships Dauntless and Kent returned from their missions on Friday when they both sailed into Portsmouth within minutes of each other.
Dauntless left home at the turn of the year and spent the bulk of her four and a half months away in the Gulf, chiefly supporting US carrier operations in the ongoing struggle against the fundamentalists of ISIS.
That was a campaign frigate Kent also weighed into as she took her place in both American and French carrier battle groups.
In her breaks between providing air defence for US Navy flat-tops, HMS Dauntless visited Kuwait (hosting a reception for Prince Charles), Dubai (mid-deployment break), plus Abu Dhabi and Bahrain (hub of RN operations in the Middle East).
As Dauntless was a shield against threats in the air, so Kent was watching what lies beneath, providing anti-submarine cover so the FS Charles de Gaulle could concentrate on launching air strikes.
Thereafter the frigate concentrated on the wider mission to stop smuggling by sea in the Indian Ocean (her sister Richmond has picked up that baton, while HMS Duncan relieved Dauntless), making extensive use of her Lynx helicopter which clocked up 180 hours flying as Kent’s airborne eyes.
Visits during a seven-month deployment included Crete, Abu Dhabi, Bahrain, Jordan, Muscat, Djibouti, Qatar, Montenegro, Palermo.
Image: Royal Navy